The British market is on course to dominate the Balearics next year. | Pilar Pellicer

The early and significant increase in the United Kingdom in the purchase of holidays in the Balearics for summer 2016 has caught the local industry by surprise and has even forced some hotel chains and tour operators to put a halt to the sale of peak season packages while the pre- and post-peak season periods are sold first.

The market figures for the week ending 5 December indicate that Spain is trading much better than last year already in the UK.
The Bulletin reported over the summer that holidays for 2016 were already being sold much earlier than usual and that the traditional January rush on holidays is still to come. At present, the overall sale of  holidays for summer 2016 is up ten per cent on the year.
High street travel agents have reported an increase of two per cent in trade while the big rise has been in direct bookings, a surge of 19 per cent in comparison to last year. Spain, in total, is up 30 per cent, with the Balearics, in general, up 24 per cent and sales to Majorca 24 per cent stronger than this time last year.

The Canaries are also trading stronger, some 33 per cent better, as is the mainland where demand has risen by 40 per cent.

When it comes to the Balearics, if this upward trend continues in the United Kingdom, the UK  market will dominate the islands, overtaking the German market which performed flat, at best, last year and is by no means showing the kind of signs of growth  which are being witnessed in the UK.

The main reasons are the strength of the pound, the improvement in hotel standards and quality and that the region is tried and tested and considered a safe destination while other holiday locations are having to deal with mounting security problems.
Apparently, three out of four British holidaymakers are actively avoiding Islamic countries following recent acts of terrorism, according to a survey by travel deals company Travelzoo.

Almost the same number said the migrant situation had put them off travelling through the Channel Tunnel or by Eurostar.
Just over half said recent acts of terrorism (54%) and the migrant situation (51%) had directly influenced how they felt about taking overseas holidays.

An increase in demand for holidays in the Balearics from the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and France has also been reported. Even the Russian market, which over the past few years has contracted by over 50 per cent, is trying to force its way back into the Balearics because of the tension between Turkey, a popular Russian destination, and Moscow, but there are hardly any spare beds, the bulk of the region’s accommodation having already been contracted out and any space rapidly being  booked up, primarily by the booming British market.

What is also fuelling the increase in the British markets is that tour operators such as Jet2 and the newly formed JetsGo Holidays are making a major play next year for the Balearics, in particular Majorca, and not only during the peak summer  season but also the low season.

It would appear that Greece is going to be the Balearics’ only major competitor.